Last week we wrote about how the Maryland Department of Public Safety and
Correctional Services had refused to remove a man from the sex offender
registry, despite a court ordering it to do so, after the court ruled that the
sex offender registration requirement couldn’t be imposed on people for crimes that took place before
the requirement existed.
Now, Aaron Davis with the Washington Post reports that the Department “quietly”
removed the man’s name, just this month, from the sex offender registry,
along with a link to the guilty plea for the 1984 crime. (He was convicted
of a sex offense with a student as a junior-high teacher.)
Davis predicts that this development might ultimately pave the way for
other names and mug shots to be removed from the registry, as many as
one in four registered sex offenders.
Some people believe that registries cast too wide a net. Even Patty Wetterling,
whose son was abducted in 1989, once a fierce proponent of registries,
has in recent years come out against them, claiming that they’re
causing more harm than good.
Here’s a case in point: Davis quotes the Maryland defense attorney
who represented the man whose name was recently removed from the registry:
“Many [registrants] are not pedophiles. I know, because several of
them are my clients. One is a 19-year-old who had a consensual relationship
with someone who was one year younger. It waters down the entire reason
for having the registry.”